Posted by: bernernewf | August 31, 2009

Scent Discrimination

I am going to start teaching Loki scent discrimination.  On my own.  I have had the scent articles for about 6 months, but have not done anything other than ask him to retrieve them.  I am using the dog trainer Connie Cleveland’s book as reference.  It is very detailed step by step directions.  The prerequistes are:  correction for failure to retrieve (yes), ability to do the retrieve on flat (yes), speed going out to and coming back with the dumbbell (yes).  So I guess it is time to begin.  I guess I will journal our progress here.

We started with Step 1 Friday, which was to first see if he will “take” the metal article.  Not a problem.   Loki has a nice retrieve, and knows the “take it” command just fine.  Then the next step was to put a dab of peanut butter on the bar of the metal dumbbell (article), and tell the dog to take it.  Loki was more than happy to do this!  Once he licked the peanut butter off, picked up the dumbbell and brought it to me, without another “take it” command, it was time to move on. 

We moved on to the next step, which was to tied down two metal articles to a pegboard, and “scent” one loose article, and put a dab of peanut butter on it, and place it on the board.  The command now is “find it”, which also means bring it to me.  Loki has a good understanding of what “find it” means, so this was not a problem.  We played games of placing pieces of food behind cones and told him to “find it”.  Easiest command to teach!  We also tried another fun game a few times, where you wet a bunch of paper towels and place them on the floor, then dip two paper towels in peppermint scented water, put one on the floor, let the dog sniff the other and tell him to “find it”.  He did great at that game to.  Even brought the correct one right to me!  

So this finding the metal article went well, with Loki bringing me the correct loose article each time.  Except he was not sniffing the two tied down ones.  The book says he should sniff those as well, and bring the loose one.  He did sniff them at some point, but the book said he should sniff the other two and bring the correct one 3 times in a row.  I paniced!  In my mind that is what he should do.  In Loki’s mind, he was bringing me the loose one with the dab of peanut butter on it.   He got frustrated, and plopped down and looked at me like what do you want from me! 

We stopped for the day.  I rinsed the articles and let them air dry.

On Sunday, I set everything up, and started where we left off.  Loki went to the pile, sniffed the two tied down articles, and picked up the correct one!  Yahoo!  Success….we can move on.   

This is a lengthy process…..months!

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